Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Movie review: Slumdog Millionaire

I admit that I had low expectations going into this movie. I wasn't a fan of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? when it was on television (is it still on the air? I have no idea). I'm not a fan of gameshows and have little point of reference for life in India, so I didn't expect this movie to interest me much. I was completely wrong.

The movie is a fairy tale. That shouldn't be a spoiler, since it's been touted as the "feel-good movie of the year" enough times. The story involves Jamal, his brother Salim and his girl friend (note: not girlfriend) Latika, three musketeers in the slums of Bombay.

The story begins as Jamal is near to winning the grand prize in India's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and is told through flashbacks to how he came this far.

Having begun his life as a barely-educated "slumdog" and advancing only as far as chai walla (which apparently is a coffee gopher), it's unlikely that Jamal would know the answers to many of the questions. But the questions are coincidental to epic moments in his life, which ultimately lead him to finding his long-lost love, Lakita.

If all this sounds unbelievable and trite, it is. But I was riveted right through to the end. As with most fairy tales, it's easy to guess how it will turn out right from the beginning. So it's the journey that makes or breaks the story. I found this one to be engaging, if not exactly believable.

Definitely recommended.

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